Portsmouth – the Spinnaker Tower and Historic Dockyard.

We came home yesterday from a short but busy break! On Wednesday we travelled up to Portsmouth and stayed in a hotel overnight ready to spend the whole day there on Thursday, to go to the Spinnaker Tower and dockyards. I was really looking forward to this, as I’d never been to Portsmouth before.

On Thursday night we travelled to Newbury to see our friends Trev, Lisa (The Love of A Captain) and their baby boy Jack. Friday we went to Legoland with them all, Saturday it was Oxford castle and the Natural History Museum with them again, and Sunday we travelled home!

It’s no wonder I’m tired today. Today’s post is just about the Spinnaker Tower and Dockyards, as with everything we crammed in to our short holiday, this would be a very long post otherwise.

Spinnaker Tower

Before we went in to the Spinnaker tower, we had a quick snack in the cafĂ© downstairs. We both had a bacon and sausage sandwich which were made with tiger bread – my favourite. This could be part of why I am now having to embark on a post holiday diet, but it was delicious and worth it.

The boys had a very healthy chocolate cake (we knew Fin would be burning a lot of energy with all the walking so he could get away with a huge slice for a nice change), and Si had a beer before 11am, just because he could.

Definitely a good way to start our day. The Spinnaker Tower can be seen for miles around because it’s so tall (170 metres) and therefore, after we’d taken the lift up to the first level, we could see for miles around. There are stairs to climb to get to the other levels, but luckily not too many.

The Spinnaker Tower

My favourite part of the Spinnaker was most definitely the clear floor. Walking across it in my bare feet – you aren’t allowed to wear shoes in case you scratch the surface – definitely made my toes tingle. It was amazing looking so far below us as we stood.

Not really one for those who dislike heights though, I freaked out a few people on my Instagram with my photos and video, and Fin did take a little bit of convincing to trust that he wouldn’t fall through. Whereas we pretty much had to force Harley to leave the glass part.

Spinnaker Glass Floor

I’m not sure I could do the job of the man in the photo above, he was so far above the ground it made me feel a bit queasy for him! He was nice enough to wave to the boys, which they were pleased about. Everyone who worked in the Spinnaker Tower were polite, very helpful and friendly.

We went to the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth after the Spinnaker, which Si (who is a little boat mad) was really looking forward to. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t especially looking forward to it, I expected to be a bit bored. However, I really wasn’t.

Some of the old ships there were beautiful. Definitely not for those that have mobility problems though I’m afraid, and some smaller children may struggle with the various steep stairways on the old ships. The ships are laid out with artefacts and props, to show you what various things and parts were used for, and to help you to imagine what it was actually like.

Historic Dockyard Ship

We loved investigating little rooms, and spotting the rats and mice around the ships. Don’t worry they weren’t real, but the boys loved spotting them in random places.

Historic Dockyard

The sun was shining when we were there, and so we even went on a boat ride (this was included in the entry price), which was a tour around the dockyards. There were lots of interesting artefacts and information all over the place.

There were things for children to sniff, touch, listen to and generally play with, which I thought was great as it meant they enjoyed it more, which in turn meant that we could.

We did go in to see the Mary Rose right at the end, and it was amazing, but we didn’t get to look around the whole place, as Fin’s blood glucose dropped and he had to sit on the floor for twenty minutes, by which time it was almost time for it to close. We saw enough though, and the sheer scale of her had a big impact.

Whilst we were there, we popped into an antiques shop and Si bought me a ring. Not that sort of ring, I doubt we’ll ever worry about getting married, but it was a gorgeous ring that he bought me just because I loved it. I am so spoilt sometimes, and it’s a lovely reminder of our holiday.

I’d definitely recommend the Spinnaker and Historic Dockyard to anyone for a day out, neither are especially cheap, but they are both things that are amazing to have done once!

Stevie x

A Cornish Mum
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  1. 29 June 2015 / 11:57 pm

    This definitely look like a great family trip… Love your pictures

    • 30 June 2015 / 11:31 am

      Thanks, it was lovely :)

      Stevie x

  2. 30 June 2015 / 10:58 pm

    I visited both these places a few years ago with my ex ( he was in the navy based in portsmouth) we travelled down which took hours from Newcastle then spent the next day at the Spinnaker tower , although i was to scared to walk on the glass floor. We then went to the Dockyard afterwards and i really enjoyed it , i have some very similar photos as you have in this post xx

    • 30 June 2015 / 11:03 pm

      Bless you, I admit it did make my stomach feel funny at first on the glass floor, but it was a amazing! We had a beautiful day for it as well :)

      Stevie xx

  3. 3 July 2015 / 7:52 am

    These photo’s are amazing!Looks like you really had fun.Love the glass floor x #picknmix

    • 3 July 2015 / 11:10 am

      Thanks lovely, we had a great time!

      Stevie xx

  4. 3 July 2015 / 8:04 am

    It looks like you had a lovely time away!! I hope you recover well from your holiday! I swear whenever you go on a family holiday you need a holiday to recover from it! ;) #PicknMix

    • 3 July 2015 / 11:11 am

      Most definitely, I think we all just pack so much in we need a break after! Although we are off to a local holiday park on 10th July for two nights for a mini holiday…although it’s actually ‘work’ #hardlife!

      Stevie x

  5. Helen
    3 July 2015 / 8:20 am

    Aww it looks like you had a lovely time! We recently went on our first family holiday down to Cornwall (I’m currently posting each day of our holiday over on my blog) and it’s such a perfect place to visit – so much to see and do :)

    Helen x


    • 3 July 2015 / 11:12 am

      Aw fab I will have to pop over for a look at your Cornwall posts! I’m a teeny bit biased but it’s the best place for holidays ;)

      Stevie x

  6. 3 July 2015 / 8:29 am

    Wow, that would make me feel queasy too! Bet it was awesome though, very jealous about Legoland, love it there! #pickandmix

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:13 pm

      It certainly made my feet tingle! Amazing though :)

      Stevie x

  7. 3 July 2015 / 9:01 am

    You had me at the picture of the sandwich!
    What a lovely day out, seeing sunshiney pictures of UK tourist spots makes me quite homesick. A happy, feel-good post.

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:14 pm

      I’m now trying to diet (failing miserably) so am being tortured by the photo of that sandwich myself ;)

      Stevie x

  8. 3 July 2015 / 9:01 am

    Some lovely pictures you got! Sounds like you had a great time! I spent lots of time in Portsmouth as a kid as I have family there!
    Thanks for hosting #picknmix by the way :) x

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:15 pm

      Thanks lovely, it was my first time in Portsmouth and I definitely want to go again sometime as it’s brill!

      Stevie x

  9. 3 July 2015 / 10:03 am

    I have never been to Portsmouth it looks like you had a great time and the weather is simply glorious for it I am definitely going to have to put it on the places for me and my boys to go #picknmixfriday

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:19 pm

      It was a perfect day really other than Fin’s blood levels dipping, but we popped to Frankie and Benny’s for tea afterwards so it was a good time to stop!

      Stevie x

  10. 3 July 2015 / 10:45 am

    Never been to Portsmouth but looks nice! Yeah not sure if I could stomach the glass floor of the tower either. Blackpool Tower was a bit of an iffy one for me!! I most definitely couldn’t do that man’s job either! Impressive looking ships!

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:20 pm

      Portsmouth is beautiful and ooh the shopping! We avoided going in the shops and we really need to start budgeting better so they were a real tease!

      Stevie x

      P.S I’ve jumped out of a plane before so the tower was nothing….although I do hate climbing ladders go figure?!

  11. 3 July 2015 / 12:09 pm

    oh my…that makes my knees wobble lol #PicknMix

    • 3 July 2015 / 12:21 pm

      Ha bless you! It was brilliant and I’ve been sky diving before which cured my fear of heights weirdly!

      Stevie x

  12. 3 July 2015 / 1:34 pm

    I LOVED reading this, as I know Portsmouth so well. My cousins are from there so I’ve been visiting this place since I was born! It’s funny, as I kind-of local, we’ve never visited the Spinnaker Tower or the Dockyards – just Southsea beach and the shopping at Gunwharf – it’s good you didn’t go there if you’re budgeting, you’d have bought so much! It’s nice to see the photos of inside Spinnaker – that glass floor would freak me out! And I’m glad the mice were fake haha. Looking forward to reading your next posts :-) #PicknMix Sabrina xx

    • 3 July 2015 / 5:30 pm

      I did eye up the Gunwharf shops pretty much all my favourites are there, so it was a real tease! Ahh if only that lottery win would arrive ;)

      Stevie xx

  13. 3 July 2015 / 2:14 pm

    I’ve been to Portsmouth a few time but have never ventured to Spinnaker Tower – its looks amazing! #PicknMix

    • 3 July 2015 / 5:31 pm

      It’s brilliant Maria, I expect your boys would love the glass floor!

      Stevie xx

  14. 3 July 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time, and your photos are lovely. Not sure about that glass floor myself :/ even the one at Bluewater gives me the heebie jeebies and it’s only a couple of metres high!
    x Alice

    • 3 July 2015 / 5:32 pm

      Thanks Alice it was definitely a good day out, although my feet were killing me by the end as it was a lot of walking!

      Stevie x

  15. Laura @Dot Makes 4
    3 July 2015 / 6:07 pm

    I’ve not been to Portsmouth since I was Mikey’s age. We’re definitely going to have to go a road trip and explore it again!


    • 3 July 2015 / 7:45 pm

      We loved it, and there’s so many places in the UK we haven’t been so will definitely be doing it again somewhere else!

      Stevie xx

  16. 3 July 2015 / 7:09 pm

    Looks like a lovely trip. My sister in law lives there and I used to live near there too so have lovely memories. Great pics! #PicknMix xx

    • 3 July 2015 / 7:47 pm

      Thanks hon, we had a great time and it was the 1st time I’d ever been so even better! Now I need to win the lottery and go back on a spending spree ;)

      Stevie xx

  17. 3 July 2015 / 8:12 pm

    That floor looks so cool! I was in Portsmouth briefly for a wedding before but we didn’t get to explore, shame as it looks great!

    • 3 July 2015 / 8:26 pm

      You would love the shops there I’d imagine Eimear! I did but we didn’t go in them as we’ve just bought solar panels so having to budget….which sucks!

      Stevie x

  18. Mud Cakes and Wine
    3 July 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Sounds like a great fun trip, I have heard so many good things about Portsmouth maybe wait for the boys #picknmix

    • 4 July 2015 / 9:25 am

      It was definitely fun, but I would say for older children, if only to save your ears from the moaning about all the walking ;)

      Stevie x

  19. 3 July 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Great photos of your time away! I couldn’t do any of that I get terrible vertigo how nice of the man to wave to the boys. I smiled at Fins large chocolate slice I bet that made his day!!x

    • 4 July 2015 / 9:28 am

      Thanks lovely, it’s definitely not one for anyone who hates heights or has vertigo! It makes you feel a bit odd standing there, but I loved it. And chocolate cake or jelly beans are the way to Fin’s heart ;) Jelly beans I try to avoid though as they are the devil for blood glucose levels as far as I’m concerned!

      Stevie xx

  20. 4 July 2015 / 12:17 am

    Wow you’ve certainly been a busy bee! I’ve never been up the Spinnaker Tower but those views look amazing, not sure about the glass floor though. Think I’d leave that to the boys to investigate! #picknmix

    • 4 July 2015 / 9:30 am

      It was definitely a very busy little holiday, I was worn out when we got back! Brilliant though and I loved the glass floor ;)

      Stevie x

  21. 4 July 2015 / 10:30 am

    Aw wow all looks amazing, Id love to take the boys there!! I love the tower, looks fab!! #Pick&Mix

    • 4 July 2015 / 11:34 am

      It was a brilliant day out, and the boys didn’t moan at all about all the walking luckily!

      Stevie x

  22. 4 July 2015 / 4:37 pm

    Looks and sounds like a great day! A place my boys would love so have this on the list to visit #picknmix xx

    • 4 July 2015 / 7:05 pm

      It really was, and I loved the fact that it was sneakily educational as well ;)

      Stevie xx

  23. 4 July 2015 / 5:42 pm

    That sounds like a good day. I love towers with glass bottoms, great to look straight down at the world below. I’ll have to remember if we ever visit Portsmouth. The ships look great too, we’ve visited a similar one at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and loved it. Spotting rats sounds fun too! :) x

    • 4 July 2015 / 7:06 pm

      Ha Jenny, that’s not a statement you hear often ‘spotting rats sounds fun’ ;) It was a great day, and the ships were beautiful,

      Stevie x

  24. 4 July 2015 / 11:57 pm

    It sounds like a lovely holiday and you’re all very cultured despite having a beer before midday!! ;) You paint a very beautiful picture of your life in Cornwall, I enjoy reading about it.

    • 16 July 2015 / 2:01 pm

      Thanks Stacey, I do love a staycation around the UK ;)

      Stevie x

  25. 5 July 2015 / 9:38 am

    Oh wow that floor, think I might feel a bit weird up there! How lovely about the ring, you lucky girl :) x

    • 16 July 2015 / 2:00 pm

      The floor was amazing, definitely a toe tingler though!!

      Stevie xx

  26. 9 July 2015 / 2:50 pm

    Sounds like a fab day. I live quite close to Portsmouth and can’t wait to do both things with my boy when he’s a bit older. Well actually I might do the spinnaker tower quite soon, he does love a tower! #picknmix

    • 9 July 2015 / 7:19 pm

      The tower was brilliant, my toes tingle now just thinking about standing on the glass though!

      Stevie x

  27. 29 July 2015 / 10:40 pm

    Both these are on our list and we have plans for a Portsmouth visit soon! Also my son really wants to go to the Mary Rose, so it will happen. Just not sure when! Lovely to read about your visit though.

    • 30 July 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Portsmouth is lovely, we really enjoyed it and with the Mary Rose it was amazing to see the actual scale of her!

      Stevie x